Scotland: Book returned to library after 73 years, late fee amounts about 3000 UK pounds

News Desk: A library book that was issued around 73 years ago has been finally returned to Dunfermline’s Central Library in Fife, Scotland. The book ‘Stately Timber’ by Rupert Hughes should have been returned to Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries on November 6, 1948. The librarians were astonished upon receiving the book after more than seven decades. The book was sent by the borrower’s daughter through mail from Cromarty town. The parcel also contained a letter along with the book. In the letter, the borrower’s daughter wrote that her late father had lived in Thornton, Fife, in 1948 and had borrowed the book when he was 20 years old. However, she added that she did not know whether her father had simply forgotten to return it or chose to keep it. She also shared her reaction upon finding the book, mentioning that she was fascinated to see the issue date of the book.

The librarians were in disbelief to receive the book. Donna Dewar, a cultural services assistant of Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries said “I burst out laughing when I opened the parcel. I couldn’t believe it”. She also recalled that they once got a book returned to the library’s Rosyth branch after 14 years, however, this incident has gone beyond anything that they’ve heard of.

Donna also mentioned that the staff at the library calculated the late fees of the returned book and it came to a whopping amount of 2,847 UK pounds.

Christine McLean, OnFife’s head of cultural heritage and wellbeing, said they are planning to put the returned book on display during Book Week Scotland to promote the libraries of the country.

In earlier instances, a library book was returned to Newcastle library after 63 years. The most overdue library book to date is the one returned to Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University. The book was borrowed in 1668 and returned after 288 years. The book also marked its place in the Guinness Book Of World’s Record.